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Charter school planning for Fall 2022 opening in Citrus Heights

A map shows where a new charter school is planned to be built in Citrus Heights. Plans are currently being reviewed by the city.

By Mike Hazlip—
Although plans are still making their way through the city’s approval process, school officials say the American River Collegiate Academy campus proposed on Antelope Road near Old Auburn Road is planning to open in time for the Fall 2022 school year.

The charter school is temporarily using classroom facilities at the Temple Or Rishon in Orangevale near Hazel and Oak avenues, where it opened last year after school officials couldn’t find a suitable existing facility within the city limits of Citrus Heights.

Principal Trisha Leroy Smith said the first year is off to a good start, telling The Sentinel in an email the school has “been able to build a strong school culture with our parent community (and) see excellent academic growth from our students.’

She said the school has offered in-person learning five-days-a-week since early October, along with a virtual learning option. Schools in the San Juan Unified School District didn’t reopen for in-person learning until March 22.

A parent information night for the upcoming school year has been set for May 10 at 5 p.m, according to an event flier being circulated by the Citrus Heights Area Seven Eight and Nine neighborhood association. The meeting will be held via Zoom.

The school currently serves grades Kindergarten through 1st grade, but will expand to second grade this fall and continue adding grades served in future years.

Plans for the school’s new facility in Citrus Heights were formally submitted to the city in October 2020, showing a two-story, 25,000-square-foot classroom building, along with a multi-purpose building, sports field, on-site parking and a wrap-around drop-off lane adjacent to Antelope Road.

The new campus is planned for a three-acre vacant parcel at corner of Antelope and Old Auburn roads. Planning documents indicate the city is currently reviewing a March resubmittal of plans for the proposed campus, with numerous modifications and clarifications made regarding building height, landscaping, traffic flow, and other items. A public hearing before the city’s Planning Commission will also be required.

Related: New site plan shows layout of proposed charter school campus in Citrus Heights

Although recent legislation has aimed to limit the expansion of charter schools, Smith says American River Collegiate Academy plans to continue to grow.

“In regards to funding, schools were funded based on their 2019-2020 levels, whereas new schools, such as American River Collegiate Academy, were funded based on their actual enrollment, adjusted for the 2019-2020 statewide absence rate in lieu of average daily attendance,” she said.

The publicly funded charter school is part of the Rocklin Academy Family of Schools that include Rocklin Academy, Rocklin Academy Gateway, Rocklin Academy Preschool, and Western Sierra Collegiate Academy.

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